Between the months of May and September, the Queche Base Lodge is a hive of activity. Golfers come and go picking up goodies and refreshments for the Highlands back nine. In the front hallway they walk past a shuttered opening on top of a high desk and if they’ve enjoyed a Vermont winter they wouldn’t know that the opening is heart and soul of Quechee Club as soon as the snow falls. Of course, I’m talking about the ski school and once again, returning for the 33rd straight year, Ken Kramberg will be at the helm.
Kramberg’s story is not that of a typical Vermont ski school dynasty and in a way that makes it more special. When I asked him where he grew up skiing he replied, “I didn’t, I grew up in New York City in a part of Queens, surfing.” It wasn’t until junior high school that he had his first skiing experience. As part of a Boy Scout troop, Kramberg headed north of the city to a small ski area called Ski Minne. Throughout high school he made frequent trips with his Boy Scout troop as well as with family friends. These trips fostered a love for the great outdoors that has continued his entire life. At 13 he became involved with the Appalachian Mountain Club Climbing Group where he developed into an experienced hiker, rock climber and even ice climber. But the great outdoors was not his only calling.
Kramberg is a man of uncommon passion and dedication. After graduating from Brooklyn College with a major in both film studies and special education, in 1977 he was hired as a special educator at Hartford High School. He started his 30-year career working with children with cognitive disabilities. Eventually he specialized in helping children with emotional and behavioral disorders have a happy, healthy and successful academic experience. Kramberg started as a special educator and ultimately became a coordinator and then director of the Regional Special Education Collaborative. He designed and created the Wilder School, an alternative school in the Hartford school district, and also the Hartford Autism Regional Program, which helps kids on the autism spectrum. His job at Hartford High School was what also brought him to the Quechee Club.
In 1978, Carol Wheeler, then co-director of the Quechee Ski School with her husband, was working as a counselor at Hartford. She asked Kramberg if he would come on board as a Nordic ski instructor and for two years he did just that. During his down time at the club (in between lessons) Wheeler taught him how to teach alpine ski lessons. With a lifetime of experience in outdoor recreation, he was a fast learner and in his third year he became an alpine as well as Nordic instructor. When the Wheelers decided to leave the ski school in 1983, they picked Kramberg to be their successor.
Today Kramberg is certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America. As head of the ski school he works with thirty-five instructors that teach lessons in Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, telemarking and snowboarding. There are morning and afternoon group lessons for children ages 4 to 7 and also 8 to 12, as well as daily adult group lessons. For the most enthusiastic skiers there are also both private and semi-private lessons.
Kramberg has also worked for the past few years as a statewide education consultant with a contract with the University of Vermont where he completed his Master’s degree and has been an adjunct faculty member for several years.